You must be the person you have never had the courage to be. Gradually, you will discover that you are that person, but until you can see this clearly, you must pretend and invent. — Paulo Coelho
The Stories We Tell Ourselves
For years, I believed that I wasn’t good at math. In seventh grade, I struggled with math. I got my first (and only) C on a report card, and it informed my belief that I wasn’t naturally talented, and therefore math wasn’t in my future. As a result, I often didn’t work very hard at math (compared to other subjects). I didn’t take the most challenging math classes—I opted out of calculus. I became the person I believed I was. Now, many years later, I always find myself shocked when I do mental calculations faster than my math genius husband. It makes me realize that story I told myself shaped my reality, and that it might never have been true.
We Become What We Believe
When we tell ourselves stories like, “I don’t like to exercise” or “I’m not a *real* writer” we act in ways that support that belief.
Our actions are the results of our beliefs. When we tell ourselves stories like, “I don’t like to exercise” or “I’m not a *real* writer” we act in ways that support that belief. We opt out of that walk. We don’t commit to writing every day. In the end, the story will support that belief.
Can You Change Your Beliefs?
Short answer: you’d better believe it. In fact, that’s the whole basis of fiction. Characters take actions out of (often) flawed beliefs. As a result, they make the situation worse. Once they change their beliefs, they change their actions. This week, I have been experimenting with this thought: I love dancing; I’m a dancer. Now, I don’t mean that I should become a professional dancer. But this new thought has taken me from couch potato to someone who is doing Zumba daily. So if there is a belief that’s holding you back, try believing something different and acting accordingly. Eventually, the outcome will mirror the story.